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A Question of TIme


Yes, you did it correctly. It is just that you have the option of entering it so that it shows as a single activation should you prefer, for instance if both the pre-midnight and post-midnight components had 3 QSOs or less and you would miss out on the points.


There are many areas in the SOTA rules which are left vague for good reason and we wont be tightening them up. There well be areas that are vague and should be tightened up. It all depends on what is being tightened.

Now a common misconception is the database is a valid replacement for your own log book. It isn’t because it doesn’t do ADIF for a start. Seriously, the database maintains enough information for the MT to validate any award claims. That’s its purpose.

The next issue is we don’t define how long an activation is. All we know is an activation starts at the time/date of the 1st QSO. It ends when you tell the database you stopped. i.e. the last QSO in the log. When you enter an activation manually you enter the date the activation started. The software stops appending the QSOs to that activation log when you click finished. It doesn’t care if you spent 1 day or 1000 days.

When you enter a log using the CSV upload (no ADIF here, but we do predate ADIF’s instigation by several years) you can do things the manual uploaders cannot do. You can lump several activations of different summits together. Or you can upload repeat activations of the same summit intermixed with other activations. All you need to do is read the rules for uploading. The link to those rules is on the upload page. Every time you upload using CSV you get a chance to read the rules.

Here it is for those who missed it: http://www.sotadata.org.uk/ActivatorCSVInfo.htm It explains how to setup your file for repeated activations or individual activations.

So the answer to the original question is it depends how you enter the data. Using our services probably could be described better for newcomers. Any volunteers to write some docs?

Qualify as successful activation?

Of my 100+ activations primarily in W6 and the west, no more than 3-4 have been a “back to back same peak activation over the date change”. I’m a morning activator and by late afternoon typically faced with a hike and long drive ahead of me, I want off the peaks and to be homeward bound.

Clearly I don’t get any extra points (unless it’s Dec 31st!) for hanging around and have stayed for the chasers who either legitimately want “double” points or those who are late to the party and missed the pre 23:59 activation. Sometimes repeat chasers have come up on different bands or band conditions have changed so my sense is the chasers are earning their points.

I log the back to back as two activations which I suppose does dilute some of my averages.


In my view there is a good argument for
A. recording in the database exactly what the activator uploaded.
B. Then, after ingesting the data, the software managing the database (I still don’t like calling a website a database) would:

  • assign activation IDs to group the contacts that the rules say should be grouped together (with stated criteria)
  • allocate the points if any and
  • determine any bonus points if any.

The advantage of this is that contacts can be compared more readily between activators and chasers - yes, no requirement for that, but keeping data pure is a good goal in itself. Also, downloaded data can be used to re-load without manual changes to lots of dates.

The first dot point is very difficult to define other than saying all contacts in a sequence for the same activated summit reference are a single activation (the current situation). An alternative would be to define a time gap after which the remaining contacts would be deemed a new activation. In that case the 3 contacts before 2359 still get nil points, but 4 or more after 0100/0200(whatever) constitute a new activation and are eligible to be assessed for points and bonuses. Other than 31 Ded/ 1 Jan, they would not get more points, but at bonus rolllover, the second “activation” would qualify for bonus points. Problem, if the second activation won’t be recognised with the entire log submitted, two partial logs may be submitted to force the system to yield the points. Contrary to intentions, so not a good idea.

The more consistent approach is I think to apply the rules for activations as they are today, but let people know they have to have enough contacts on the new (bonus qualifying) day, for it to be considered for the bonus points. That avoids all confusion about how bonus points are earned - ie. sufficient contacts need to be on the actual utc date that meets the bonus conditions of the ARM.

If I operate at Mt Ginini for an entire VHF field day weekend with my sota station electrically isolated from my vhf gear (which is typically generator powered), I could make contacts on Friday evening, Saturday morning and all day, Sunday morning and up to lunch time. UTC timings would be 0700, 2300, 0400 next day, 0900, 2300, 0400 on third day. If submitted as a single log, the assigned date will be Friday for the whole weekend. This strikes me as an unintended consequence too. i receive queries from operators all over as to why I logged them with the wrong date, when I actually didn’t.

I dare say the original rules didn’t attempt to cater for these problems when the only associations were in the UK or nearby. But they emerge once wide variations of time zones create new glitches. Andrew ZL3CC gave more good examples.

In such cases my analytical cell suggests returning to basics and examining what is intended, what is fair, and what is practical.


Hi Andy,

We have discussed this before, so let me say up front I have followed your firm instructions as to what I should/must do since then.

If I have an activation that crosses UTC 0000 the database ignores the change of date and puts my post UTC rollover contacts back 24 hours when I wasn’t on the mountain. Chasers can’t get their star because the days don’t match. This still causes some unhappiness and emails about errors in logs.

IMO its not a matter of tightening something that is loose. There is no adjuster in this case.
Yes I understand that “someone” has to do a lot of work on the Data Base to “fit anadjuster” and I’m certainly not competent o do so, so haven’t pursued this topic for a while, but as someone else has raised it…

Separate activations on the same UTC day can be handled by uploading a separate file. I’m not sure why you would do that, unless you were trying for 44 contacts for a WWFF park accreditation as well as a SOTA activation and in mid flight had to stop, leave and go get a pizza.



The confirmation stars get switched off tonight and the problem is solved.


I once continuously activated a summit over 3 days, in that the station was set up and every few hours or so I’d give a call. I have no idea how the database managed all of that that but my log is the definitive record of the activation in my mind.

I don’t think anyone was impacted either way by how the database recorded it. I got an activation and qualified the summit and the chasers chased me.


They’re off now.